It’s the economy, stupid. We’ve heard the phrase so many times over the past 25 years that it has descended into cliché if not outright parody. But it’s been repeated so often because it highlights a basic truth about politics: jobs matter. And since the election, the job growth has been extraordinary.
It’s been so strong that it prompted Jamie Dimon, president and CEO of Chase, the nation’s largest bank, a registered Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, to back President Trump’s economic agenda. Dimon declared it has “woken up the animal spirits” in the United States. His comments came in the midst of a spate of good economic news released this week.
Trump himself tweeted, “Great Again: +235,000” after the Labor Department reported a higher than expected 235,000 new jobs were created in February. This came on the heels of a report earlier in the week from ADP and Moody’s Analytics showing 298,000 new private sector jobs in the same month. Better yet, the Labor Department report showed strong wage growth and that 340,000 workers who sensed better prospects came off the sidelines and re-entered the workforce. This addresses a key critique of the weak Obama era recovery after the 2008 financial panic: namely, that the low reported unemployment rate was misleading because of the large number of working age Americans who stopped looking for work and were therefore not counted in official government unemployment statistics.
This is all good news for the country and for a president who has promised to put wage and job growth front and center in his administration. Trump’s plans on immigration, infrastructure, taxes, regulation, and trade all aim at improving the lives and prosperity of ordinary American citizens If they continue, the results of the past few months will be considered the downpayment on a broader resurgence of American economic might and the reinvigoration of the middle class.
Against the new administration’s ambitious goals, Democrats are stuck with increasingly transparent attempts to undermine the president with phony narratives endlessly repeated by their media surrogates. The stranglehold the mainstream media had on American opinion was broken long ago and Americans understand the game played by the Progressive Left-Democrat-Media opinion complex. And they either look for other sources of news and opinion or they discount for the expected collusion when they hear Democrat talking points repeated as objective fact.
Forget the nakedly partisan attempts to create a media narrative about Russian hacking and so undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of President Trump and his administration. Forget too “the Resistance” which exists more as a social media meme than a real life phenomena—progressive street violence notwithstanding. What matters is jobs, not phony outrage cooked up by professional agitators.
The complaints of D.C. Democrats and their Millennial storm troopers don’t have much purchase with middle America when the economy is growing and people are working. As Loretta Lynn sang in her 1971 classic “One’s On The Way”: “The White House social season should be glitterin’ an’ gay but here in Topeka the rainis a fallin’, the faucet is a drippin’ and the kids are a bawlin’.” In other words, no matter what the powerful and connected think, ordinary people have bills to pay and families to raise and they can only do it with a job. And the fact that there are a lot more jobs than there were a few months ago has significant implications for Democrats who think they can win elections based on stoking resentments based on niche grievances and so-called microaggressions.
This week’s economic reports were so uniformly positive that even financial news titan Bloomberg, a reliable defender of Davos class perquisites, was forced to admit that “America’s labor market is getting better by almost any measure.” They were hard-pressed to give the president any credit, but that hardly matters.
With revelations that the Obama Administration may have taken the unprecedented step of using the nation’s intelligence apparatus to spy on the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign and news that Russia’s largest bank has hired Clinton crony Tony Podesta (John’s older brother) to lobby the U.S. government to end sanctions that Democrats’ Russian hacking narrative is destined to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions.
Democrats long ago gave up on ideas that improve the lives of ordinary Americans focusing instead on identity politics that pits citizen against citizen in a cynical play for short-term electoral success. Barack Obama did it with skill. Hillary Clinton did not. Obama won the presidency twice even as his policies and rhetoric made the Democrats a regional party with electoral strength on the coasts, in the inner cities, and in college towns where they run political monopolies with predictably baleful consequences. Detroit anyone?
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is forging a new electoral coalition that could reshape American politics. Trump’s collaboration with Dimon looks a bit unusual, but his budding alliance with private sector union leaders is a tectonic shift. It would cement the Republican Party of the middle class not the Davos class, of the bowling alley rather than the country club.
Gone are the days of reflexive Republican union bashing. Conservatives had valid criticisms of compulsory unionism and the sort of managerial capitalism championed by people like Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith a few generations ago. That was the era when intellectuals thought that big government plus big labor plus big business added up to eternal prosperity. But that time has passed. Now AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says, “Will we partner with him (Trump) to try to rewrite the immigration rules of the country? Absolutely, because those will help workers, it will decrease the imbalance between corporate America and workers.” Elected politicians—especially Republicans—should take notice because this may represent the promise of a generational realignment.
Democrats have abandoned kitchen table issues for identity politics. That’s thin gruel for someone who stopped looking for work during the Obama years because of dismal prospects. Trump is the first Republican in a generation to speak effectively about the issues that matter to middle America. More important, he is acting on his rhetoric.
What Steve Bannon calls economic nationalism is nothing more than jobs, infrastructure, and pro-worker, pro-growth trade and economic policies. That makes sense to most people.
Let the Democrats have their identity politics. Donald Trump is making good on his promise to be the jobs president.